Chat with Jake Marto
How did you feel your season went?
It really went well. It was a good experience to play at that level. I knew it was a great league to play in.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make?
Speed and strength. Everybody seemed to be strong on the puck. I couldn't just push people off like in high school.
You were kind of a free-roamer in high school, jumping into the play and carrying the puck deep in the offensive zone consistently. Did you have to cut back on that in the USHL?
A little bit. Omaha develops really good defensemen offensively. You can rush the play and stuff. We're always working on stuff like that in practice. I still jump into the play, but I cut down a little from high school.
Were you still able to use your speed and skating as a weapon?
Definitely. Down there, the speed of the game is a lot higher. Not being the biggest guy, I had to elevate my level.
The second-leading scorer on your team was a defenseman, Nick Schaus.
He's usually my D-partner. He's a good player. He's been there for four years and will play at UMass-Lowell next season. It was a good learning experience to play with him.
Have you gotten bigger?
Yeah, a little bit. I came to Omaha at 160. Now, I'm at about 170. This summer will be big for me. I'll be doing a lot of lifting. During the season, I lifted two or three times a week -- just stuff that keeps you strong -- not the heavy lifting I'll be doing this summer.
What things do you want to work on next season?
I'll be working on my D-zone coverage, getting stronger in the D-zone. In high school, it wasn't as hard to defend people. (In the USHL), you really have to stay with your guy.
Were you able to follow UND's season at all?
Not really. You don't get much down here. It's basically UNO (University of Nebraska-Omaha), and that's it.